Our Story

First Lutheran Church Columbia Heights is on the move! It’s been that way since we first began and it’s an important part of who we are as we look to the future. We are associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America which only tells a small part of our story. We have deep roots in Columbia Heights and in the important work of education and being a resource for kids in the neighborhood.


Our story begins in 1912 with three sisters, all students at Augsburg College, who were drawn to the community just north of Minneapolis. They saw a need for Sunday School and began teaching in an old fire barn with 8 students. The school quickly grew so they decided to make a move. The Ladies Aid bought a one room building which became home to Zoar Norwegian Lutheran Free Church later that same year. The church continued to grow. Soon the one room was too small. So in 1915, the congregation decided to move to a new place at the corner of 40th and Quincy. In 1926 a new sanctuary was built and a new name determined: First Lutheran Church Columbia Heights.

History repeats: we continued to grow and decided it was necessary to make another move. In 1982 we purchased the old Silver Lake School and in 1986 the entire congregation walked the 1 mile from the old site to the new, marking a new chapter in our story as a church. That’s where you’ll find us today—for now. But remember, we’re on the move so you’re just as likely to meet us other places too—volunteering at SACA or filling backpacks at Highlands school to name just a few.

We believe God is alive in the world and has called us to serve others, reaching out to welcome all people with the good news of Jesus Christ. So wherever you are on your journey of faith—full of questions or confident about matters of faith—we invite you to be part of what God is doing through First for the sake of the world God so loves. Come as you are. Know that here you can belong!